The House That Screamed
Released in Spain in 1969 and two years later in the U.S., The House That Screamed (AKA La residencia) was one of the first Spanish films to be exported with post-dubbing in English. The only feature film helmed by writer/director/actor Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, it tells the story of a boarding school for young girls. Unfortunately for them, this is also a tough place – a place where the head mistress is cruelly strict and the girls choose allegiances over each other. However, it isn’t long before some of the girls begin to turn up missing or murdered, and if their petty grievances with each other doesn’t get the best of them, someone or something else will.
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release features two versions of the film, the original theatrical version and an extended version with nearly nine minutes of additional footage via standard definition inserts. The audio is presented as an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD track with English SDH subtitles while the extras include an interview with actor John Moulder-Brown, an interview with actress Mary Maude, the original theatrical trailer, a TV spot, 2 radio spots, and a still gallery.
The Devil’s Candy
Pleasing crowds along the festival circuit, The Devil’s Candy is the second film from director Sean Byrne, who had previously helmed The Loved Ones from 2009. In this heavy metal nightmare, a family of three moves into a new house, not knowing that it was once a place of devil worship and murder. The father Jesse (Ethan Embry), a painter by day, and his wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby), are put in jeopardy when they begin receiving visits from a man named Ray Smilie (Pruitt Taylor-Vince), who seems to have an interest in their young daughter Zooey. Ray soon begins terrorizing them, going so far as trying to kidnap Zooey and sacrifice her, claiming her to be “His” candy.
The Blu-ray release features a great-looking transfer with soundtracks presented in both English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD with English and Spanish subtitles. Extras include an audio commentary with director Sean Byrne, VFX Behind the Scenes with visual effects supervisor Johnny Han, the Advantage Satan short film, a music video for the song “Backfire” by Goya, an animated art gallery, and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Charles B. Pierce’s The Evictors is possibly one of his best films, with The Town That Dreaded Sundown following closely behind. With a heavy emphasis on atmosphere, The Evictors tells the story of Ben and Ruth Watkins (Michael Parks and Jessica Harper), a married couple who relocate themselves to the country where Ben has found better job opportunities. They move into an old farmhouse, which has a had a history of violence since the early twentieth century. While Ben is away at work, Ruth is terrorized by prowlers. Arming themselves with guns, Ruth and Ben prepare to take on whoever it is that’s trying to intimidate them. Also featuring performances by Vic Morrow, Sue Ane Langdon, and Dennis Fimple, Scream Factory previously released the film as a DVD extra with The Town That Dreaded Sundown Blu-ray release.
Since then, they’ve chosen to go back and spruce up the film with a brand new HD transfer from an interpositive element. Included is an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD soundtrack with English subtitles, as well as the film’s original theatrical trailer, an animated vintage press book gallery, and a single radio spot.
The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake
From the director and producer of It! The Terror from Beyond Space (Edward L. Cahn and Edward Small, respectively) comes The Four Skull of Jonathan Drake. In this late 1950s schlocker, the titular character – an anthropologist (Eduard Franz), believes that he and the rest of the men in his family are cursed by a South American Indian tribesman (Paul Wexler) after the sudden death of his brother. Soon learning of collusion between the tribesman and a rival scientist (Henry Daniell), Jonathan must do all that he can to prevent he and other members of his family from suffering the fate of having their heads removed from their bodies. Other members of the cast include Valerie French and Paul Cavangh.
This Blu-ray release features a new HD transfer from a fine grain print of the film with an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD soundtrack, English subtitles, and the film’s original theatrical trailer as the only supplement.
In the tradition of the rape and revenge horror subgenre comes Demented, released in 1980 and directed by one-and-done filmmaker Arthur Jeffreys. After Linda is raped and beaten by a group of men with stockings concealing their identities, she is institutionalized for a time. Upon her release, her husband brings her home, but she immediately begins hallucinating her previous attackers. Things go awry when a few pranksters attempt to sneak into the house and scare her. But this time around, she’s not going to let them get away with it. Starring Sallee Young, known primarily for the Thanksgiving horror classic Home Sweet Home, as well as porn star Harry Reems under the pseudonym of Bruce Gilchrist.
The Blu-ray features a new high definition transfer of the film from an interpositive element with an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD soundtrack and English SDH subtitles, as well as the film’s original theatrical trailer.
Another festival circuit darling, The Survivalist comes from first-time writer/director Stephen Fingleton. Portraying events taking place in a post-apocalyptic world, a man known only as Survivalist carves out a lonely existence deep within the forest, paranoid about the outside world and the rest of the people in it. One day a mother and daughter show up on his doorstep. Reluctantly accepting them into his home, they soon become an uneasy trio of survivors, but he is not about to let his guard down and be picked off by anyone, these two women included.
For its home video debut, the film is presented with English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD soundtracks, as well as English SDH and Spanish subtitles. There’s also The Making of The Survivalist featurette, three short films either written or directed by Stephen Fingleton (Magpie, Insulin, Awaydays), and the film’s trailer.
The Naked Cage
In the tradition of the “women in prison” genre comes The Naked Cage. Written and directed by Paul Nicholas, who had previously helmed Chained Heat and Julie Darling, this late night cable favorite stars Shari Shattuck as Michelle, who is wrongfully incarcerated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Upon her arrival, she soon learns the ins and outs of prison, including dealing with her vicious cell mates, a corrupted warden, and cell block riots. Forced lesbianism, torture, murder, rape, and gunplay all follow suit and it’s up to Michelle to try and survive it all.
The Blu-ray release of the film comes equipped with a new high definition transfer of the film’s interpositive element, so you can see all of the nudity and carnage in the best picture quality possible. It also comes with an English 2.0 mono DTS-HD soundtrack, English subtitles, and the original theatrical trailer.
A Dark Song
Directed by newcomer Liam Gavin, who previously had only written and directed a number of shorts, A Dark Song was picked up by IFC Midnight after performing well at various film festivals. We find the character of Sophia (Catherine Walker) going through a grieving process over the death of her murdered son. Unable to move on, she enlists the help of occultist Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram). The two of them hole up in a dilapidated country house to perform a very long ritual with the goal of bringing her son back to life and discovering the identities of his murderers. Given a brief theatrical run while also being released on streaming platforms, the film garnered mostly positive critical praise, with many citing it as one of the best horror films of the year.
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release features soundtracks for the film in English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD, as well as English SDH and Spanish subtitles. For extras, there are interviews with director Liam Gavin, actress Catherine Walker, and director of photography Cathal Watters. In addition, there’s also 8 deleted scenes, a set of animated storyboards, and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Gordon Willis’ sole directorial effort Windows is one of cinema’s more obscure oddities. Controversial upon release and ultimately panned by critics, the film quietly slipped away until its rediscovery on DVD. Talia Shire stars as Emily, a recently divorced woman who has withdrawn from much of society, living a very lonely existence. After she is assaulted by a stranger, her neighbor Andrea (Elizabeth Ashley) begins to take an interest in Emily and the two ultimately become close. However, what begins as friendship quickly descends into obsession, forcing Emily to confront both her attacker and her disturbed neighbor.
Featuring a score by Ennio Morricone, this long-lost thriller is now available on Blu-ray in a gorgeous high definition transfer from the film’s interpositive element with audio is presented in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD and English subtitles. Extras include Reflections: Mike Lobell and Talia Shire, an in-conversation interview with the actress and producer; The Psychoanalysis of Andrea Glassman, an interview with actress Elizabeth Ashley; the film’s theatrical trailer; 3 TV spots; and an animated photo gallery.
Island of Terror
Terence Fisher’s work outside of Hammer studios includes the quite enjoyable Island of Terror. On an island off of the coast of Ireland, bizarre deaths begin occurring after an experiment by a reclusive doctor goes disastrously wrong. What’s unusual about the deaths is that the corpses seem to be left without any bones. Investigating the mystery are a couple of outsiders, including a local doctor (Eddie Byrne), a celebrated pathologist (Peter Cushing), a bone specialist (Edward Judd), and his girlfriend (Carole Gray). The four of them soon discover that the island doctor’s experiments have produced life forms that reproduce quickly after sucking the cartilage out of humans and animals. It’s up to them and other locals to figure out how to stop the creatures if they are to ever survive. Also appearing in the film are Sam Kydd, Niall McGinniss, and James Caffrey.
Scream Factory’s new high definition presentation of the film from an interpositive element also features a soundtrack in English 2.0 mono DTS-HD with English subtitles, an audio commentary with film historian Dr. Robert J. Kiss and actor Rick Pruitt, an animated photo gallery, and the film’s original theatrical trailer.
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- Tim Salmons
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